I Feel Like Weeping For Joy

I Feel Like Weeping For Joy

I Feel Like Weeping For Joy 150 150 Comfort Aid International
I am in Mumbai, in the middle of my current trip,
taking me to four countries and several worldwide cities and villages. To Dubai
and Mumbai and New Delhi and Kabul and Yawkawlang and Sacheck and Punjab and
Lego and Oozmuk and Nilli and Dayaroos, back to Kabul, on to New Delhi again and
Sirsi and Phandheri and Nawghawa Sadaat and Kuderky and New Delhi yet again, and
Lucknow and Hallour and Lucknow again and Mumbai again. I leave today for
Colombo and Nurelliya, return to Colombo and Mumbai again, then return to
Sanford via Dubai and Chicago mid October insha’Allah. Quite a mouthful, no?
The following is a short narrative on the
Afghanistan trip only; hope you enjoy it:
I am in Afghanistan; Aliakberbhai Ratansi of
AICT Mumbai or RK (because he has an uncanny resemblance to the late Raj Kapoor
of Bollywood, grey eyes and all) and Sohail Abdullah (SA) a CAI Trustee from
New York join me this time around. This is my 27th trip to this
badbakth country in the last 7 years and much has changed since then, but yet
again, a lot remains the same. Kabul has greatly improved of course (except for
occasional bombs that explode and kill or maim the innocent), thanks to massive
foreign aid money; airport services are prompt, the streets are nicely paved
and power cuts are not as frequent. The local CAI team receives us at the
airport and we are whisked away to the comfort, superb Afghan hospitality and
relative security of Wasi’s home, CAI’s Country Manager in Afghanistan. While
RK and I are seasoned visitors here, SA is a rookie, full of awe and tons of
bewildering questions.
Rural and remote Afghanistan, where the bulk of
CAI operations are in progress or operational, is where the world changes back to
the Stone Age, literally. SA sits next to the pilot, his IPhone constantly
capturing the sights and sounds as we are transported to Yawkawlang in a
teeny-weeny Kodiak single propelled aircraft. SA’s greatest concern is for the healthy
looking American pilot to survive a medical emergency, such as a heart attack.
SA will share a wonderful photo-blog of the
trip with you shortly so I will spare you the intricate details of this tough
adventure. I will, however, tell you this:
I feel like crying for joy and hugging a sparklingly
white commode when I see one at the Golden Tulip Hotel room in Lucknow. I have delicately,
carefully squatted and balanced over a hole-in-the-ground toilet, clutching a
lotta in one hand and a torch in another, bearing the humiliation of mosquitos
and flies feasting on my exposed behind the last 12 days. I feel like weeping
with joy when I get to use a bathroom toilet tissue after having to finger my
bum the last 12 days. I feel weepy when I finally get to sleep in a soft comfy
mattress inside a centrally air-conditioned room, not having to squat
tormenting flies away or wistfully watch a sated mosquito full of my blood
elude my attempt at its murder. I feel emotional when I take a hot shower with
abundant water, not having to worry about pneumonia should I have to use frigid water in an emergency. I get relief
when I blow my nose instead of rudely picking it publicly, since the thin Afghan
mountain air made all secretion into a hard crust that was very uncomfortable
to keep for long and bled my nose every time I cleaned them. I am delighted I can
smell my old self and not the revolting odor of not having washed for days on
end. I close my eyes in ecstasy when I take a sip of real hot chai after being
deprived the last 12 days. I feel like crying for joy when…
These joys are short lived, of course, when my
thoughts return to the misery and hopelessness of the people CAI help left
behind. My discomfort and hardships are transitory; these people I am so
fortunate to help a bit will be without all the fancies I take so much for granted.
In Afghanistan this trip, CAI commissioned the
A water
distribution system in Yawkawlang that benefits over 3,000 people which will
provide clean, potable water for the next 25 years at US$27 each.
of operational Sacheck Medical Click – a wonderful modern custom built clinic
that can rival any in a Western country.
opening of a 400 student elementary school, CAI’s 15th in Punjab.
The due
diligence of another elementary school, CAI’s 17th (16th
already under construction in Kajraan) in Lego.
of the operational Oozmuk Medical Clinic and commission the construction of a
tailor made modern all-purpose clinic. The current one operates from mud brick
– straw house that freezes in the winter and is highly inefficient.
of one water-well benefiting 120 people costing US$1,400.
of operational Dayaroos Medical Clinic. Construction of a modern facility for
this unit awaits funding.
in the wedding celebration of 100 poor couples sponsored by CAI donors at
of five each milk and ewe producing sheep to poor widows in Nilli.
10. Monitoring of the new SGH 60 girls orphanage / 300
girls school project under construction in Kabul.


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